Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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Now, I'm reading The Other Japan, by David Suzuki and Keibo Oiwa, a non-ficiton book in which the authors interview people outside of the Japanese mainstream - anti-war activists, Ainu spokesmen, burakumin, and so on. Suzuki is a Canadian of Japanese descent, and Oiwa is a Japanese anthropologist who studied at Cornell.

I've already learned something I never knew, that during the Second World War, the Canadians interned Japanese and Japanese-descended Canadians living in British Columbia, the same as we did we did with Japanese-Americans.

How un-Canadian of them.
The Armadillo Whisperer by Denniger Bolton. I am about 10 pages in and I don't know if I can take it. The author lives in the Austin, TX area, but I don't know anyone from Texas who talks like his main character talks. A little (okay a lot) over the top. I will give it the 100 page test and see where I stand at that point.
A Penguin Classics selection of Plutarch's biographies dealing with the fall of the Roman Republic -- Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar and Cicero.

After that, I was going to move on to the revised edition of Russel T. Davies The Writer's Tale -- but it just arrived from Amazon and HOLY COW IT'S ENORMOUS!!! No way I'm stuffing that in my briefcase! That's become a nightstand book.
I've just finished The Fourth Side of the Triangle by Ellery Queen (written with Avram Davidson).
Travis Herrick said:
The Armadillo Whisperer by Denniger Bolton. I am about 10 pages in and I don't know if I can take it. The author lives in the Austin, TX area, but I don't know anyone from Texas who talks like his main character talks. A little (okay a lot) over the top. I will give it the 100 page test and see where I stand at that point.

I couldn't take it any more, maybe I will give it a go another time, but right now i just can't. Not when I found out the B.B. in our hero, B.B. Rivers, is for Bilbo Baggins. Nuh-uh, no way, I am out. I was so defeated. I will probably start, Greg Rucka's A Gentleman's Game in the next day or so.
I've finished The Dutch Shoe Mystery, Ellery Queen.

This is the third Queen book. Queen the author was really two cousins, Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee. This book shows some of their strengths, but not so much so as to make the novel more than a middle of the road mystery for me.

A number of the Queen books published after 1960 were written with other authors. Some of the late novels show a falling-off in quality. Non-Queen novels by other authors were also published using the Queen pseudonym. I wonder if this has damaged the Queens' reputation with some readers.

It's been said that Ellery Queen the character was initially modelled after S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance. I've not properly read any of the Vance books, but from what I know about him he was depicted as someone from an upper social class who helped out the police as an amateur on the basis of his friendship District Attorney Markham. In the early Queen books, and sometimes later, Queen helped out his father, Inspector Queen of the New York police, but the early books have a similar sense that he belongs to a higher social class than the police due to his college education. Vance and the early Queen both had show-off-y ways of talking, but the Queens soon dropped this,(1) and so did the Philo Vance(2) and Ellery Queen movies and radio shows that I've seen/listened to.

I think Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby comes from this tradition. The Vance radio shows that I've heard, starring Jackson Beck, are from a series that debuted after Raymond's strip. But this series made Vance a private detective, so in each case you have a hero who's a private detective who has the manner of a college-educated person. In both cases, too, the hero could handle himself in a fight. The Beck Vance talks very much like the radio version of Ellery Queen (the Queens worked on their character's radio shows). I don't know if Vance was depicted as a private detective in his earlier radio shows.

(1) Along with the early Ellery's pince-nez, walking stick, and wife and child mentioned in the introductions.
(2) William Powell appeared as Vance in a number of movies before the Thin Man films.
I recently read Lost States, by Michael J. Trinklein. It's a look at US states that might have been, had history gone differently

Some are ones that were seriously considered, like Cuba, the Yucatan, Baja California, British Columbia and Newfoundland. Others were somewhat less likely, such as Taiwan, Sicily, Albania, England.

He also discusses territories that might have divided differently, such as the upper Midwest and the region that became Arizona and New Mexico.

Others became states under different names, such as New Sweden (Delaware) and New Connecticut (Vermont).

Some were regions of existing states that wanted to secede, such as West Kansas, south Jersey and Long Island.

Still others were forgotten bits of history, such as Nickajack, which which made up of pro-Union parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, that attempted to counter-secede from the Confederacy the way West Virginia did.

My favorite was the guy in colonial times who wanted to make parts of what would become Ohio, Indiana and Illinois into a territroy called "Hazard", which he intended to be a Presbyterian homeland. I suppose it could have happened - as I recall, Maryland started out as a sort of "homeland" for English Catholics.
My favorite was the guy in colonial times who wanted to make parts of what would become Ohio, Indiana and Illinois into a territroy called "Hazard", which he intended to be a Presbyterian homeland. I suppose it could have happened - as I recall, Maryland started out as a sort of "homeland" for English Catholics.

I heard about that proposal too. Apparently he suggested that the ruling aristocracy should all be called 'Dukes', and the womenfolk should go around in tight cut-off denim shorts.
I read Patient Zero by John Mayberry a few weeks ago, and I liked it quite a bit in beach-chair sort of way, so I'm reading the second book in the Joe Ledger series now, The Dragon Factory.
I'm reading The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling -- the second novel of the first fantasy series I've read in a very long time...
Just finished The Bloody Crown of Conan collection that covers Howard's middle period Conan stories. I have now read every Conan story written by REH. Sometime in the future I plan on re-reading the stories in chronological order as they occurred in Conan's life as opposed to order in which they were written.
I just finished Dreams from My Father and the graphic novel adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

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